Mozilla board members resign over CEO pick: Report

Three Mozilla board members have reportedly resigned over the organisation's pick for CEO, but not for his stance on same-sex marriage.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

As Mozilla on the weekend looked to extinguish the flames of controversy surrounding its pick for CEO, Brendan Eich, it has been reported that three of the six members of the organisation's board have resigned over Eich's appointment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that former Mozilla CEOs Gary Kovacs and John Lilly, and Shmoop CEO Ellen Siminoff left the board of the non-profit organisation last week, reportedly because they were seeking a CEO outside of the company with experience in the mobile industry who could advance the plans for Mozilla's Firefox OS mobile platform.

Eich, a co-founder of Mozilla, has served as the company's chief technology officer for close to a decade, and Eich said when he was appointed to the role last week that Firefox OS was the organisation's top priority.

"It's like the great circus act — spinning plates while doing back handsprings, and we are definitely turning mobile in the only way that can be really effective. The highest priority is to get volume to Firefox OS, especially the $25 phones," he said.

At Mobile World Congress last month, Mozilla announced it was partnering with semiconductor company Spreadtrum to develop low-cost Firefox OS smartphones. Firefox OS is already available on three devices in 15 markets, but the company wants to expand its availability, particularly into Latin America, parts of Europe, and China.

Eich's appointment raised controversy outside of Mozilla due to the CEO's donation of US$1,000 to the Proposition 8 movement in California in 2008 that resulted in a same-sex marriage ban in the state until the law was overturned by the Supreme Court last year.

In addition to a statement from Mozilla last week, and Eich himself, Mozilla put out an additional statement over the weekend clarifying that although Eich has not indicated his views have changed, Mozilla as an organisation supports marriage equality for same-sex couples.

"Mozilla's mission is to make the web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just. This is why Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally," Mozilla said.

"We realise that not everyone in our community or who uses our products will agree with this. But we have always maintained that as long as you are willing to respect others, and come together for our larger mission, you are welcome. Mozilla's community is made up of people who have very diverse personal beliefs working on a common cause, which is a free and open internet. That is a very rare and special thing."

Additionally, Mozilla said it encouraged its staff to be candid on its views about the direction of Mozilla, and said it was deeply committed to openness and equality for everyone.

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